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Revista geológica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0716-0208


HALL, Minard et al. Volcanic eruptions with little warning: the case of Volcán Reventador's Surprise November 3, 2002 Eruption, Ecuador. Rev. geol. Chile [online]. 2004, vol.31, n.2, pp.349-358. ISSN 0716-0208.

Successful mitigation of a possible volcanic disaster depends upon the early detection of renewed volcanic activity. With considerable optimism, volcano observatories instrument dangerous volcanoes, with the hope of an early recognition of the reactivation of a volcano. Reventador volcano's November 3, 2002 eruption came with little warning and had a tremendous socio-economic impact. Reventador volcano, a young andesitic cone in the Eastern Cordillera of Ecuador, has had, at least, 16 eruptions between 1541 and 2002. These eruptions were characterized by small pyroclastic flows, blocky lava flows, debris flows, and limited ash falls. With the exception of a M=4 earthquake near the volcano one month earlier, only seismic activity related to the eruption onset was registered. Following only 7 hours of seismic tremor, the paroxysmal eruption began at 0912 h on November 3, 2002 with a sustained column that ascended to 17 km and five pyroclastic flows, that traveled as much as 9 km to the east. By mid-afternoon ash falls of 1-10 mm thickness began blanketing the Interandean Valley near Quito. The economic impact was significant, including severe damage to the principal petroleum pipelines, closure of schools, businesses, and Quito's airport for 10 days. It is important to conclude that for those volcanoes that are characterized by low silica, volatile-rich, fluid magmas, magma ascent can be aseismic, rapid, and without much warning. This event should serve as a clear reminder to scientists, civil defense, and authorities of the rapid onset of the eruptions of some volcanoes

Palabras clave : Reventador volcano; Ecuador; Eruption with little warning.

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